Bending the Rules
By Moshe Katz
Israel Krav International

February 27, 2019, New York, USA

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Rules make us feel comfortable. Rules make things clear and easy to follow. Many of us like following the rules as it gives us a sense of security; we know what is happening, we know what to do, we do not need to think too much. We do not need to make decisions for ourselves. Everything is under control.  We feel someone with a fuller picture and greater knowledge is watching over us. 

That is how governments work, and for the most part, people follow blindly. That is also how airports work, and, martial arts systems. 

I landed at JFK airport and one must follow the rules if one wants to enter a country. I follow the line for US citizens. On the plane I filled out the immigration declaration form. This seemed odd to me as I know that upon arrival we fill out the same form on the online kiosk, but..when given a form you fill it out. 

The kiosk spits out my form, with a large X on it. The lady at immigration sees the X and directs me to a shorter line. I feel good, I have selected for a shorter line. 

We wait. The officer at the immigration desk walks away. We try to move to an open line but are told in a very stern voice to "stay in our line". 

After a while we are told to switch lines, to the line we originally tried to switch to when our officer did not return. How odd I remark to the man standing in front of me. He is a Vietnam war veteran. 

We talk about the "logic" in the system and how assuming that those in charge of planning know all may well be a mistake. He tells how in Vietnam their lives were saved by not following orders. They did the opposite; they used their knowledge gained in the field, they used their gut feeling and intuition over policies made thousands of miles away by men who never stepped foot in Vietnam. They did what they needed to do and they survived. That is why he is standing next to me today, the gentleman explained. 

And it is the same with Krav Maga. 

With our style of Krav Maga we do not use rules, we do not have step by step procedures, you will never be "standing in a line and waiting to be told what step to take next". We teach concepts and use those concepts to create techniques, but the concept always trumps the technique. 

We bend the rules based on our needs and our situations. Pat working security in Australia adapts the universal block to suit his situation guarding the door. In Costa Rica, in South Africa, security guards, police, and "ordinary" people have adapted our techniques to situations I could not have foreseen, and they have survived. 

I will not publish a step by step martial arts style book, there are simply too many variables. It is you who must adapt and make the final decision. You are the man on the scene and at that moment of truth you know more about your situations that I possibly can.

As my friend on line at the airport said, we bent the rules based on what we knew we had to do, and we survived. 

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